Case Studies

Tony Elston

Tony Elston is a Maintenance Technician at Caterpillar, the world's largest construction equipment manufacturer. Based in Stockton-on-Tees, he assists in the maintenance and repairs of equipment and machinery.

Having recently completed the Level 3 Engineering Maintenance Apprenticeship standard, Tony has been sponsored by his employer to complete the Level 4 HNC in Electrical & Electronic Engineering to further his knowledge and progress his career.

After completing a string of college courses including engineering and plumbing, Tony was initially unsure of what career was right for him. After seeing the apprenticeship vacancy advertised online, he was drawn to the varied nature of the role and the progression opportunities it could lead to.

Tony said: “The apprenticeship appealed to me as it allowed to me follow a path where I could become multi-skilled, rather than narrowing my capabilities down to one specific area.

“Caterpillar is a worldwide company with amazing long term career opportunities – so it was a no brainer for me to apply.”

After Tony had submitted his application, he was invited to a preliminary interview with the Northern Skills Group recruitment team to assess his skillset and experience for the role. After impressing the team, he was shortlisted to Caterpillar’s assessment day, and the rest is history.

Tony has now been a part of the Caterpillar team for 18 months, supporting with the maintenance and repair of on-site machinery such as weld torches and laser cutting machines.

 “One thing I love about my job is that no two days are the same.” Tony commented.

“We’re required to be reactive when jobs come in over the radio so in one day I may go from repairing huge machinery such as cranes, to the smallest things such as door handles or airlines.”

Whilst completing his apprenticeship, Tony had monthly visits from his Workplace Assessor who supported him to submit work and evidence as part of the qualification.

“I would highly recommend the apprenticeship route as a way of progressing in industry and earning whilst you learn.

“It’s a completely unique experience, getting the opportunity to train in the factory and learn in such a hands-on way!

“I may have now completed my apprenticeship, but there is still a lot to learn and I’m keen to complete my higher level HNC qualification to expand my knowledge and continue to improve within my role.”